Episode 18: Jennifer Finney Boylan

Jennifer Finney Boylan

Discussion Questions

  • There are two trans characters in Long Black Veil, and their experiences are marked by generational differences. We see the anachronism of “going stealth” and reemerging as a new person juxtaposed with a fluidity of identity that we are thankfully beginning to take for granted. What factors do you feel have enabled this shift?

 

  • Long Black Veil opens with the characters entering the Eastern State Penitentiary, an abandoned, “haunted” prison in the heart of Philadelphia’s city center. What parallels does the author make between being haunted and keeping secrets? Do you think that people are “imprisoned” by the secrets of their past?

 

  • Much of Long Black Veil centers on the meaning of identity and how it changes as we get older. Do you think people can fundamentally change? What’s the connection between who we’ve been and who we ultimately become?

 

  • Judith, the protagonist of Long Black Veil, has a choice to make between loyalty to the friends of her youth and keeping the life she has created intact. How much weight do the promises we make in our youth carry? How much should we sacrifice to help those that we love?

Book Club Bites

Whether you’re gathering with a group, or reading solo, try our recommendations for a cocktail and snack that pair perfectly with the book.


Book Club Extras

Spotify Playlist


Recommended Books

JENNIFER FINNEY BOYLAN is Professor of English at Colby College and the author of the bestseller She’s Not There, as well as the acclaimed novels The Planets and Getting In. A three-time guest of The Oprah Winfrey Show, she has also appeared on Larry King Live, Today, and 48 Hours, and has played herself on ABC’s All My Children. She lives in Belgrade Lakes, Maine.
[email_signup id="4"]